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Cash sweep analysis in project finance

Cash sweep analysis in project finance
CategoriesTutorials

Stand-alone cash sweep analysis is an alternative metric for refinance risk and repayment ability in cash flow models for project finance. This tutorial outlines the key features of a modelling cash sweep calculation and its application in analysis of a project finance model.

During a cash sweep, 100% of cash flow available for debt service (CFADS) is used to repay principal and interest.

This is an extract from the Advanced Project Finance Modelling course ->

Stand-alone cash sweep analysis is used to calculate the amount of time it takes to repay the debt in full and should not be confused with cash sweep mechanics governed by the term sheet.

It is an alternative to interpreting debt metrics, such as the loan life cover ratio (LLCR) and project life cover ratio (PLCR), which also analyse the project’s ability to repay debt. It is a quick and useful way of analysing the impact of downside scenarios.


Application of cash sweep analysis in a project finance model

Cash sweep analysis can be applied on the base case but will be the most beneficial when applied on a series of downside scenarios. A cash sweep that demonstrates debt being fully repaid in the most conservative downside scenario will reinforce the soundness of the project. Benefits include:

Quicker modelling

It is easier to set up than all the mechanics needed to model the complete interpretation of a term sheet cash sweep that is triggered by financial covenants, but provides comparable levels of analysis.

Dynamic analysis

The start date of the sweep can be set up as an input, which makes it flexible. This can then be set to either the start of the debt facility, end of completion or the debt maturity to analyse refinance risk.

Effective communication

A graphical representation of the closing debt balance in the cash sweep account and in the usual debt account gives a good understanding of the project’s cash flow characteristics.


Key features in modelling the stand alone cash sweep

Step 1: Determine cash flow used for cash sweep

The cash flow used for a stand-alone cash sweep is CFADS less interest payable on the cash sweep debt balance – cash available for principal.
 

Cash-flow-used-for-a-stand-alone-sweep
Screenshot 1: Cash flow used for a stand-alone sweep


Step 2: Set-up flag for sweep start date

Setting up a flag that illustrates when the sweep is in place enables the start date to change and helps to reduce the complexity of the mechanics in the cash sweep debt account. The flag drives off the sweep start date and is a simple binary [1, 0] result.
 

Setting-up-flag-for-sweep-start-date
Screenshot 2: Setting-up flag for sweep start date


Step 3: Set up a stand-alone cash sweep account

The stand-alone cash sweep account is set up so that during the periods before the sweep, the repayment is the scheduled principal and once the sweep starts the repayment switches to the cash available for principal.
 

Cash-sweep-calculations
Screenshot 3: Cash sweep calculations


Screenshot 3 demonstrates that during the period ending 31-Mar-15 (before the sweep start date of 1-Apr-15), the repayment is the scheduled principal of USD 7.27 Million and once the sweep starts the repayment switches to the cash available for principal, i.e., USD 9.69 Million in period ending 30-Jun-15.
 

Step 4: Determine the payback and repaid date

The analysis on the debt account gives us the repaid date and the time it takes to repay in the cash sweep.
 

Analysis-to-determine-the-payback-and-repaid-date-in-the-cash-sweep
Screenshot 4: Analysis to determine the payback and repaid date in the cash sweep


The example above shows the debt is fully repaid by 31-Dec-17.


Step 5: Create Graph

Finally, the sweep analysis can be compared against the debt account by presenting it in a graph.
 

Graph-presentation
Screenshot 5: Sweep analysis compared against the debt account


Constraints with a stand-alone cash sweep

  • Tax calculations are not as accurate as in the modelling of the full term sheet.
  • The flexibility can sometimes cause confusion. Make sure to present all timing assumptions clearly to decision makers.

This is an extract from the Advanced Project Finance Modelling course ->


Corality Training Academy - SMART Campus

Visit our website to take advantage of various training courses and free resources to assist you in reducing spreadsheet risk and efficiently building your models with confidence.

Some of our related training courses for this topic include:


Rickard Wärnelid
by Rickard Wärnelid

Rickard's passion for financial modelling is built on specialist roles in the highly quantitative fields of derivatives and project finance, a career path complemented by an academic grounding in engineering physics. Born in Sweden and with global consulting and leadership experience, Rickard is an internationally recognised authority, speaker and thought-leader on the organisational benefits of best practice financial modelling.

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